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Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity

HealthCare Provider and Faith Diversity




Thispaper will discuss two different faiths that a health care providermay interact with in a care institution. In detail, the criticalcomponents of healing like prayer and meditation the spiritualperspective shall be discussed. The paper will give a comparativeanalysis of two faith philosophies towards providing health care. Thetwo religions that will be reviewed in this article are Buddhism andChristianity. This paper will outline important aspects of people ofdifferent belief systems being offered care by a health care providerwho has a different belief system. It will give insights on how apatient may view a care provider who puts aside his or her beliefsfor the interest of the practices and beliefs of the individualseeking care.

HealthCare Provider and Faith Diversity

Differentreligions believed health to be an important value that promotedhealing. It is a belief that has been held onto through generationsand into the new world. There is a variation in health care based onan individual’s faith. Faith can be viewed as hope or belief withregards to its definition as confidence or trust in religion, adoctrine or a person (Shellyand Miller,&nbsp2006).It is through faith that people can lead a holistic life. This paperwill expound more on the spiritual perspective of individuals fromdifferent religious faiths namely Buddhism and Christianity and alsothe healing practice of each faith. The two common most experiencesto human life, health and disease are a particular concern ofreligion. Since time immemorial, religion has upheld the value ofhealth and well-being as necessary for a meaningful life. Religionprovides people with a means to enhance their health providing themwith an avenue to creatively deal with human vulnerability tosuffering, disease, and pain (Shelly&nbspandMiller,&nbsp2006).

SpiritualPerspective of Healing by Buddhism

TheBuddhist faith centers its beliefs on the understanding of Buddha’ssuperior role in teaching on the functionality of the mind andcontemplation for righteousness and truthfulness can be incorporatedin developing faith. When it comes to the first question of the sevenworld view questions, the prime reality in Buddhism holds the viewthat there is neither spiritual nor personal being that exists asprime reality(Tilakaratne,&nbsp2012).Simply put, Buddhism declares that all is God God is one andbelieves in unity of things. Existence is based on transitory factorsof existence. From this world view, it can be seen that Buddhism isrooted in a rational intellectual comprehension, which is reinforcedby the intellect. Buddhists believe that the mind is the creator ofsickness and health, that the causative agent of disease is internal,and that people should take care of their bodies in a particular way.The Buddhist faith believes that human beings exist regardingintegrated factors, which are governed by the natural law (Cobb,Puchalski, &amp Rumbold, 2012). The two characteristics according tothe doctrine that dictates how one perceives life and the path, whichmaintains the body, are the Kamma and the noble eightfold.

Fora Buddhist, being concerned about a person’s health reciprocates tobeing concerned with the whole person such as his or her moral,physical, and mental dimensions. Therefore, this religion does notcondone the tendency to understand health only about individual partsof a human being an example being congenital disabilities. In theholistic perspective of the Buddhism faith, a disease is regarded asan expression of an imbalanced harmony in life. Besides, the faithacknowledges that disease draws an individual’s attention to thedisturbed balance.

Followersof Buddhism are for the view that healing is not just about treatmentof the measurable symptoms. This comes from the second question thatseeks to understand the nature of the world around us reality aspresented by our senses is faulty(Tilakaratne,&nbsp2012).This means that our perception of the world is mistaken. Anotheranswer relates to the fact that every existence is part of anultimate and conventions have no absolute meaning. They believe it isthe combined efforts of the mind and body to overcome disease than aduel between medicine and illness. In addition, they believe that thepurpose of healing is to enable an ailing individual to return to aharmonious status within oneself and in how they relate to others andthe natural environment. From this perspective, it is evident thathealing is not an end in itself, but rather a means through whichmedicine aids to serve the value of human health and well-being.

Meditationand Health in Buddhism

Buddhismallocates time for meditation and prayer for devotees so as torealize their vision of health. The tradition of meditation cutsacross many religions and has been practiced for both for both healthbenefits and religious purposes. On the question of what is a humanbeing, the answer is the unity in God. In other words, unity is anessential part of reality and is not based on one’s personality(Tilakaratne,&nbsp2012).By meditating, ones become unified in body and mind. In addition, thequestion as to how do we know right or wrong supports this assertion.Learning is done when one withdraws from world and looks inward.Meditation provides this opportunity enhance mental health andspiritual health, which is thought to have an overall effect onphysical health (Fraser, 2013). Meditation in the Buddhist faith isthreefold named after the effects they produce. There is insightmeditation, loving kindness meditation, and calm reflection.Compassion, Sympathetic joy, and loving kindness are believed to beantidotes for anger, jealousy, and hatred whereas equanimity is acounteractive measure for suffering caused by attachment.

Prayerand Healing in Buddhism

Chantingis the form of prayer in Buddhism, and its intention is to invoke theTriple Gems the Buddha, the teachings, and the order so as toreceive blessings and protection. This is based on the question thatwhat happens to a person at death? In Buddhism, people die to bereincarnated again (Tilakaratne,&nbsp2012).The motivation for prayers is either to get better or have a betterafterlife. The chants are verses written by senior learned monksinspired by Buddha’s livelihood and teachings. Among the chants,parritta is often recited for its healing effects since it isbelieved to keep sickness at bay and to promote healing.

Thetruth of the teachings and Buddha’s boundless compassion areincorporated in chants where they are thought to promote healing. Thereligion believes that even if one does not understand the words inthe songs, the individual can visualize the image of Buddha andlisten to the vibration of the sound thereby soothing and calming themind. Besides, this simple act is thought to have far-reachingeffects on the immune system enhancing the entire body function.

ChristianSpiritual Perspective and Components of Healing

TheChristian practices have been associated with healing for millennia.Christians pray to God for good health and relief from disease. ToChristians, God is the prime reality and controls the destiny ofmankind(Shelly,&nbspand Miller,&nbsp2006).He reveals himself in the scriptures as Christians believeunquestionably on existence of God. Faith is paramount. TheChristian faith views health, healing, and wholesomeness fromdifferent perspectives rooted in the interpretation of the bible’sold and new testaments (Louw &amp Elsdörfer, 2012). In the OldTestament, health is viewed as the state of well-being, completeness,and wholeness that result from having a good relationship with God.The Bible in the Christian faith often speaks of miraculous healingthrough belief in Jesus Christ and faith in God.

Thesecond question is what is nature of external reality? Christiansbelieve that external reality refers to the world as created by Godwho commissioned human beings to have dominion over it (Shelly,&nbspandMiller,&nbsp2006).Christians, basing on the book of Exodus, believe that God is theoverall healer. Also, basing on the belief that all human beings werecreated in the likeness and image of God we are called to give thebest care possible for the glory of God. This answers the thirdquestion what is a human being? This is portrayed when God throughMoses tell the Israelites that if they obey His commandments, He willnot bring them any of the diseases like those he Brought to theEgyptians. Throughout the Bible, the writings advise people to lead arighteous life, and in return, God will take away sickness andsuffering from among the people.

Thereis also the fourth question about what happens to a person at death.To Christians, a person will either enter heaven or go to hell(Shelly,&nbspandMiller,&nbsp2006).This belief is an important component when giving hope to patients,especially those in acute healthcare setting. Even in the face ofdeath, health care providers should remain hopeful and do their bestto save a life. In case the patient dies, those who are close to themalso remain hopeful that someday they will re-unit in eternal life.Giving such assurance to Christian patients makes life meaningful tothem and this initiates the process of healing. According to theseventh world view question, human beings were created for a purposead according to God’s plan (Shellyand Miller,&nbsp2006).This understanding is essential for culturally competent healthprovider in providing holistic care to Christian patients.

Also,God gave human beings the ability to learn and understand the world.This relates to the question of why it is possible to know anything.This perspective opens vistas of opportunities for health care teams,patients and families about the capacity to learn and act basing onwhat is taught. Part of our practice is to implement evidence-basedcare and this requires continuous research on emerging issues andchanges in the field. Working with Christian staff might be easysince they appreciate the need to embrace the search for wisdom andcontinuous growth spiritually and in knowledge.

CommonComponents in Christianity and Buddhism Regarding Healthcare


Bothreligions believe in the healing power of meditation that has beenshown to result in biological and psychological changes that arereflected in good health. The clinical significance of meditation canbe experienced in reduced heart rate, alteration in the levels ofmelatonin and serotonin, an improved immune system, reduced stressand enhanced self-esteem. Christians meditate in times of pain as away of asking God to provide the strength necessary to persevere.


Differentdegrees of faith support prayers that in health care may bereciprocated with benefits associated with placebo response.Clinically, improved wellness has been witnessed with placebo invarying disorders like Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, andcardiac failure. Concerning the context of prayer and healing, theplacebo response is enhanced by behaviors and personality traitsespecially response expectancy, motivational concordance, andoptimism. Moreover, developments that result from regression to themean and spontaneous remission have been associated with prayer.Regression to the mean points out the improvements that occur due torandom fluctuations in the severity of illness.

Healthcare professionals who are not Buddhists should offer careholistically and with sensitivity to Buddhist patients. Health careproviders should not make any assumptions about any aspect of thesepatients’ lives. To propagate cultural competency while offeringcare to a Buddhist, the medical professional should always ask eitherthe patient, family or an elder of the relevant Buddhist communityfor any clarifications (Purnell, 2014). When a Christian patient isreceiving care from a non-Christian professional, the same rule ofthumb should apply.

Healthcare professionals should respect the patient’s spirituality andalways seek clarifications on matters they are unfamiliar. Caregiversshould be cautious because whether they are religious or not, theirbeliefs can affect the patient-physician relationship. Addressingissues concerning spirituality and religion in health care alwaysmakes a difference in how patients of different faiths experienceillness and health outcomes. Physicians despite their differentfaiths should remain patient centered. To avert conflict of interest,physicians should always involve chaplains of or trained personnellike counselors for guidance[ CITATION Fol12 l 1033 ].Beforeany form of treatment care providers are mandated with theresponsibility of seeking a patient`s religious concerns beforecommencing treatment to conserve the seeker`s religious respect andintegrity.

Whatwas learnt?

Ihave learnt that being cultural competence should incorporatesdifferent world views and I should appreciate understanding the worldview is key to client satisfaction. I intent to be more sensitive inprovision of holistic care and address the often ignore aspects ofwellness. From my observation that differences in religion and faithbeliefs have become more pronounced in health care facilitiesnowadays, I will advocate for acceptance of a diversity of faithexpressions on the part of the health care provision. This exercisehas opened a window of opportunities about different religions, aswell as how I can deal with such individuals in a hospital setting.


Toconclude, as a Christian, it is my belief that spirituality leads tohealthy living. By abiding in God’s teachings, we can work towardsremaining healthy. The Christian perspective of healing is reflectedby staying connected to God. It would be detrimental to separatereligious aspects from spiritual needs to some patients since theirspiritual needs are religious in nature. It is evident throughresearch that in a multi-faith society, spirituality has differentmeanings to different people. In addition, religion has both positiveand adverse effects on health. The negative effects can range fromdelays in seeking medical care to religious factors being identifiedas parts of psychosis. It is crucial for multicultural competenciesto be a standard of care in health care. Health care is somethingthat everyone has the right to and by having, a greater understandingof the variety of backgrounds people come from can only help tofurther understand the patient, their spiritual and religiouspractices, their concerns and medical needs.


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Foley, E. (2012). Religion, Diversity and Conflict. Sanfrancisco: Edward Foley.

Fraser, A. (2013). The Healing Power of Meditation: Leading Experts on Buddhism, Psychology, and Medicine Explore the Health Benefit s of Contemplative Practice. Chicago: Shambhala Publications.

Louw, D., &amp Elsdörfer, U. (2012). Encounter in Pastoral Care and Spiritual Healing: Towards an Integrative and Intercultural Approach. Sanfrancisco: LIT Verlag Münster.

Purnell, L. D. (2014). Guide to Culturally Competent Health Care. Newyork: F.A. Davis.

Shelly,&nbspJ.&nbspA.,&amp Miller,&nbspA.&nbspB. (2006).&nbspCalledto care: A Christian worldview for nursing.Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic/InterVarsity Press.

Tilakaratne,&nbspA.(2012).&nbspTheravadaBuddhism: The view of the elders.Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press.